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Investor Strikes Deal for Largest Industrial Buy in Atlanta Area This Year

CIP Real Estate Pays Nearly $127 Million for Gwinnett Commons

CoStar News, by Tony Wilbert

September 21, 2020

A Southern California investor that’s snapping up and renovating older warehouses and distribution centers across the country has acquired a master-planned park in what ranks as the Atlanta market’s largest industrial sale of the year.

CIP Real Estate of Irvine, California, paid $126.6 million, or over $105 per square foot, for Gwinnett Commons, a large industrial park with some flex office space about 20 miles northeast of downtown Atlanta. The seller was a partnership between affiliates of Westmount Capital Realty of Dallas and Quilvest Capital Partners.

The Gwinnett Commons portfolio, located in Atlanta’s Interstate 85 northeast corridor, contains about 1.1 million square feet of industrial and flex office space in 16 buildings. It also includes two parcels totaling nearly 16 acres that are zoned for new warehouse development.

With the price of $126.6 million, the sale of Gwinnett Commons ranks as the largest industrial sale of 2020 so far in the Atlanta area, according to CoStar market analyst David Kahn.

The next largest industrial sale of the year based on overall price is the
$79.3 million sale of Brickworks, a six-building portfolio at 1000 Marietta St. in Atlanta, according to CoStar data. Several of the spaces at Brickworks have been converted to loft offices and restaurants.

CIP’s acquisition is part of a major buying spree the investment firm plans. “We’ve got an appetite to buy $600 million to $700 million in industrial assets over the next two to three years,” CEO Eric Smyth told CoStar News earlier this month.

CIP said it “plans to allocate significant funds to the overall portfolio for capital improvements relating to development opportunities, major interior renovations, and tenant improvements” at the industrial properties it acquires.

The company is focusing a large chunk of its acquisition activity in Georgia and North Carolina, where CIP acquired Whitehall Technology Center, a two-building, 204,800-square-foot flex campus about 10 miles southwest of uptown Charlotte, in June for $28 million.

“Industrial real estate continues to outperform other commercial property types, so these acquisitions were a great value opportunity for our firm,” Smyth said in a press release. “They provide for critical mass in both Atlanta and Charlotte, two of our company’s primary investment markets.”

For the record, Stewart Calhoun and Casey Masters of Cushman & Wakefield represented the seller in the transaction. Brian Linnihan and Mike Ryan, also of Cushman & Wakefield, secured acquisition financing on behalf of the buyer. J.R. Wright if Strategic Real Estate Partners will remain as leasing broker for the portfolio.